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Leicester's Dan Kelly pays price for late hit on Saracens' Davies

By Liam Heagney
Dan Kelly made his England debut in the summer (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England midfield newcomer Dan Kelly has been banned for three games following his appearance at a virtually held disciplinary hearing following an incident near the end of last Saturday’s last-gasp win by Leicester over Saracens in the Gallagher Premiership. 

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Tigers were six points behind when Guy Porter was illegally bundled into touch by opposition scrum-half Aled Davies. Upon a check with the television match official, a penalty was awarded to the home side with the clock in the red, but this review didn’t take into account the striking incident that happened afterwards with Kelly colliding into Davies.   

From the resulting penalty lineout, referee Christophe Ridley awarded the penalty try that gave Leicester their dramatic 13-12 victory, but the late drama didn’t end there as Kelly was cited by commissioner Duncan Bell. 

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Kelly accepted the charge for striking with the shoulder/arm contrary to World Rugby law 9.12 and was given a three-match suspension by the independent disciplinary panel comprising Mike Hamlin (chair) with Rob Vickerman and Martyn Wood. 

An independent disciplinary panel statement read: “The player attended the hearing and accepted the conduct merited a red card. Having heard the player and considered the seriousness of the offence together with mitigation, the player was suspended for three weeks. The panel’s findings will be set out in their written judgment.”

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That judgment has yet to be published but Leicester have announced their intention for Kelly to apply to take part in World Rugby’s head contact process coaching intervention programme aimed at modifying specific techniques and technical issues that contribute to the foul play.

If the application is successful and the programme is completed by Kelly, the final week of the sanction would be substituted by the coaching intervention and see Kelly available for selection after two rounds. As it stands, the 20-year-old who made his England debut in this year’s summer series is set to miss the Leicester games against London Irish, Worcester and Sale.  

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